SARVER, Pa. — official series release — Photo courtesy Junghans Racing —
With two of the sport’s top drivers behind him and a steady line of lapped traffic ahead of him, Chase Junghans expected his lead in Friday’s Firecracker 100 preliminary feature at Lernerville Speedway to be shrinking.
Instead, signals from a crew member during the second half of the 30-lap race told the second-year World of Outlaws Late Model Series driver that he was pulling away from former WoO LMS champion Scott Bloomquist and current series points leader Shane Clanton.
“I was just riding around out there trying to be patient and my crew guy was giving me signals saying I was pulling away,” said Junghans, the 22-year-old racer from Manhattan, Kan. “I was like ‘Are you kidding me?’ But I guess I was, and now, I just don’t know what to say. This is surreal.”
Junghans was indeed nearly speechless after dominating Friday’s A-Main to score his first-career WoO LMS victory during the second night of Lernerville’s ninth annual Firecracker 100 presented by GottaRace.com. In notching his fourth top-five finish in the past six WoO LMS events, Junghans earned $6,175 at the four-tenths-mile oval and picked up plenty of momentum heading into Saturday’s $30,000-to-win Firecracker 100 finale.
Junghans’ Shop Quik Racing Capital Race Car finished the caution-free race with an advantage of 2.932 seconds. Bloomquist was second with Clanton, who won Thursday’s Firecracker 100 opener, advancing from his seventh starting spot to finish third. Chub Frank finished fourth with Davey Johnson rounding out the race’s top five finishers.
Junghans was fast all night at Lernerville, setting quick time in qualifying and finishing second to Clanton in his heat race to earn a spot in the Top 8 Redraw. Luck fell his way in drawing the pole for the A-Main, but he didn’t waste the opportunity. He pulled away from an early back-and-forth battle between Bloomquist and Frank and never looked back.
“This feels great, especially having all these good guys here behind us,” said Junghans, whose previous best WoO LMS finish was a third-place effort at Fonda (N.Y.) Speedway on June 18. “It definitely helped starting up front, but we made the most of it. Hopefully we can build off of this and maybe win tomorrow or if not at least have a good finish.”
A frequent contender at Lernerville, Bloomquist took second from Frank on lap 10 and appeared to initially close slightly on Junghans. But his pace slowed around halfway and the two-time Firecracker 100 winner was forced to settle for the runner-up finish in his self-designed Sweet-Bloomquist Race Car.
“We weren’t quite where we want to be, but we’re happy with this,” said Bloomquist, who made his first laps of the weekend on Friday after a late arrival led him to sit out Thursday’sopener. “We’ve been playing with some different stuff on the car and tonight was the first night we tried it. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t exactly what I was hunting.”
With his seventh consecutive top-three WoO LMS finish, Clanton kept his recent hot streak rolling. The co-founder of Capital Race Cars was happy to see a Capital car in victory lane, but he would’ve liked to have made it a one-two sweep for the chassis brand.
“Any time a Capital car can win, we’re happy,” said Clanton, whose Capital machine is sponsored by Weldbank Energy. “I told Chase to just go on and run his race and hopefully I’d make it to second. We came close, but I was just a little too tight.”
Tim McCreadie was sixth at the finish after climbing as high as third midway through the race. Former Lernerville track champion Jared Miley advanced from 11th to score his second top 10 of the weekend in finishing seventh. Gregg Satterlee was eighth with Austin Hubbard and Rick Eckert rounding out the top 10.
The ninth annual Firecracker 100 presented by GottaRace.com concludes on Saturday with an action-packed night of racing at Lernerville Speedway. With lineups determined by drivers’ best finish over the two preliminary nights, four Firecracker 100 heat races will each transfer four drivers into the 100-lap, $30,000-to-win finale. Two Last-Chance Showdowns will each transfer three more drivers, while provisional starters will round out the field. The night will conclude with the $3,000-to-win Uncle Sam 30 for non-qualifiers.
Results of World of Outlaws Late Model Series Firecracker 100 presented by GottaRace.com Preliminary Night at Lernerville Speedway (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):
1. (1) Chase Junghans/30 $6,175
2. (3) Scott Bloomquist/30 $3,100
3. (7) Shane Clanton/30 $2,050
4. (2) Chub Frank/30 $1,800
5. (5) Davey Johnson/30 $1,500
6. (6) Tim McCreadie/30 $1,650
7. (11) Jared Miley/30 $1,800
8. (10) Gregg Satterlee/30 $1,250
9. (8) Austin Hubbard/30 $1,100
10. (16) Rick Eckert/30 $1,250
11. (15) Eric Wells/30 $950
12. (18) Morgan Bagley/30 $900
13. (4) Brandon Overton/30 $1,050
14. (9) Russ King/30 $775
15. (13) Josh Richards/30 $900
16. (12) Mason Zeigler/30 $750
17. (19) Ross Robinson/30 $660
18. (20) Darrell Lanigan/29 $790
19. (23) Boom Briggs/29 $670
20. (17) Frank Heckenast Jr./29 $650
21. (21) Kenny Pettyjohn/29 $600
22. (14) Paul Wilmoth/29 $600
23. (24) Jordan Yaggy/27 $600
24. (22) Mike Norris/7 $600
Time of Race: 9 Mins., 17 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 2.932 Secs.
Yellow Flags: None
Lap Leaders: Junghans (1-30)